This 30-second video from March of 2005 shows a NASA F/A-18A Hornet undergoing an in-flight Active Aeroelastic Wing (AAW) test over the Mojave Desert at Edwards, CA.
Active Aeroelastic Wing was a two-phase NASA/Air Force flight research project. The objective was to investigate the potential of aerodynamically twisting flexible wings to improve maneuverability of high-performance aircraft at transonic and supersonic speeds, with traditional control surfaces such as ailerons and leading-edge flaps used to induce the twist. The project developed data and structural modeling techniques and tools to help design lighter, more flexible high-aspect-ratio wings for future high-performance aircraft, which could translate to more economical operation or greater payload capability.
The project used a modified F/A-18A Hornet as its testbed aircraft, with wings that were modified to the flexibility of the original pre-production F-18 wing. Other modifications included a new actuator to operate the outboard portion of a divided leading-edge flap over a greater range and rate, and a research flight control system to host the aeroelastic wing control laws. The Active Aeroelastic Wing project was jointly funded and managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (now Armstrong), with Boeing's Phantom Works as prime contractor.
To learn more about NASA's F/A-18 Active Aeroelastic Wing visit: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/news/FactSheets/FS-061-DFRC.html